The NBA Champions over the Past Decade
At the end of every year, many of us look back on the past twelve months as a time of reflection. Well in this case, we have both a New Year, and a new decade, coming in less than four days. As a sports fan, you often think of the teams that have taken home the championship trophy as well as some of the most memorable moments doing that time. Here are the most successful basketball teams who deserve mention for their dominance throughout the past ten years.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers were dominant in the eighties winning five championships. The Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan would come into their own winning six championships in a span of eight seasons during the nineties. So what teas would lead to Led by future Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, the Lakers would return the Lakers to glory by winning the decades first three NBA championships (2000-2002). Their second championship in 2001 included a 15-1 run playoff run, their lone loss coming at the hands of the Sixers in game one of the finals. Ironically enough, the Los Angeles Lakers would also capture the decade’s last championship defeating the Orlando Magic in five games to give the franchise its fifteenth championship. With the addition of the Ron Artest to the current big three of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are looking like favorites to win it all again in 2010.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs deserve to be mentioned in the category as well. The San Antonio Spurs captured three championships during the last decade in 2003, 2005 and 2007 respectively. San Antonio’s last championship was capped by a 4-0 sweep of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Spurs often get overlooked because they are not as flashy or glamorous as some of the other teams in the league. However, with the nucleus of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, the Spurs can compete with any team in the league when they are at full strength. The San Antonio Spurs were also the only team to make the playoffs every year of the decade.
Other Notable Mentions:
Michael Jordan couldn’t get enough of the game of basketball and decided to give up his minority ownership title with the Wizards and returned to the NBA during for the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. While his second stint with the Bulls resulted in a second three-peat for Chicago, his time in Washington would not be as successful. Michael Jordan would average a respectable 22 points a game in the first year and 20 points per contest in the second year. While he had some moments that reminded fans of what once was, clearly the “Air” adjective could no longer be used to describe the man wearing number 23. Michael Jordan would be eventually voted into the Hall of Fame in September of 2009 to cement his place as one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game.
2004 — The Detroit Pistons would win the 2004 championship dispatching of Kobe and Shaq in five games. It would the Detroit’s first championship since 1990. The loss in the finals would lead to the Lakers parting ways with all-star center Shaquille O’Neal who in an off-season trade with the Miami Heat.
2006 — With the addition of Shaquille O’Neal in the paint, the Miami Heat would make its first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. After dropping the first two games to the Mavericks in the finals, the Miami Heat would rally to win the next four to give the Heat the franchise’s first championship banner. While O’Neal was an important acquisition, DeWayne Wade was the key to the teams’ success during the post-season and he would be named Most Valuable Player of the series.
2008 — The Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, would end the Celtics’ twentry plus year drought of championships with a game a game six blowout (131-92). It would the Celtics 17th championship banner.
Congratulations to the teams who were able to call themselves champions over the past ten years. It will be interesting to see what teams will position themselves to be dominant over the next ten seasons.